The Big Picture: Combat Evolved?

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Bobic:
Has it crossed bobs mind that maybe their isn't some big ugly subtext and maybe the reason for all the different creeds and colours of the enemies is to give you more variation in the things you shoot at?

Agreed. At no point is their diversity ever a reason for their attack on the humans. Nor are they a disorganized destructive horde. They're just aliens of a bunch of different species attacking the humans. The humans are obviously less diverse than the aliens because there is only one species of humans doing the defending. It is silly to demand any sort of interspecies platoon of the side that just made first contact with aliens.

I'm pretty sure that's the conclusion the Marketing Suits were hoping you'd draw. Only, they were hoping you or someone else would draw attention to it as soon as the advertisement dropped, so there would be a big juicy controversy and public outcry against the game, ideally about two weeks before the release date. It's GTA and its contemporaries all over again.

The only problem is, the symbolism was too subtle this time. Critics didn't call 'em on it, until you, and by now the game's first-week sales have long since dried up, so any controversy at this point would be pointless. Because it's too late for a dialogue to serve the developer's interests, so they won't bother calling attention to it by publicly apologizing.

That's what I'd be saying if it weren't friggin' HALO. Microsoft doesn't need any controversy in order to push this game; everyone already knows what HALO is. Probably just an honest mistake lol.

(It would be funny if it were a marketing ploy and it backfired, say by powerful special interests deciding that the ad is racist and that Microsoft has deep pockets, but I say that because I hate advertisers, not Microsoft.)

Bobic:
Has it crossed bobs mind that maybe their isn't some big ugly subtext and maybe the reason for all the different creeds and colours of the enemies is to give you more variation in the things you shoot at?

I was thinking the same thing. The Halo games have always been good about bright colors, which is nice compared to the drab colors most games have today, so i don't think there's any deep context to all that. Mind you, i do love digging deep into stories and context, i just don't think Halo was made to be nitpicked. It definitely places polish and effeciency over anything else, so while the story, to me, has had it's ups and downs, i don't think Bungie was going for the whole "master race is good, color is bad" vibe.

I'm thinking the marine's eyes just turned blue because it's Bungie's main color for many things.

However i am looking forward to this show, and im interested to see Bob take a look into many interesting topics, so despite me criticism right above, i mean no foul, just my opinion as a Halo fan.

woah woah woah did i miss something big where did those clips of the Spartan bio-augmentation come from?

Timbydude:

Plus, the blue-eyes thing? That was just too much of a stretch, though you seemed to realize that as well.

I'm going to repeat myself here cause I said it earlier. But I rewatched the "a spartan in the making" video. The spartan in the video had blue eyes before hand, they change to a very light purple, they also have a slight glow.

Bob, may I call you Bob?

I think this new venture has started out as a failure, my friend.

The faces are cool...but they get repetitive, and personally, and I AM one to analyze things to death, but couldn't you have picked something with a bit more meat on it than fekkin Halo? Really man. You're ragging on Halo? One of the most over-done things EVAR!? Talk about how gaming violence is being challenged right now, and then Black Ops shows a commercial with kids blowing each other up! The commercial is awesome, but I find that it came at the worst possible time! You're better than Halo!

I'm meh on the series at best, and Reach severely made me not want to trust Bungie again...despite jetpacks, but I have a feeling a lot of the stuff you're talking about it merely just coincidence or taken out of context. It makes you sound...kinda like Glen Beck, or another political guy with a talk show that merely just spouts what he considers facts.

So what if the guy's got blue eyes? He wasn't blond. Guy in that vid is Carter, he's got brown hair. It's just to show he's 'supercharged', or whatever. If you were a real geek, shouldn't you have realized, as I did, that the whole eyes going blue means you have superpowers thing seemed oddly reminiscent of FF7 and SOLDIERS? When I first saw that commercial, I did a double take, and HAD to make sure the remake of FF7 (or another spin off game) wasn't here without my noticing.

Bottom line, I am VERY disappointed sir. VERY, VERY disappointed. I've been with you since Game Overthinker 5. :[

WAAAAY over-thinking things there Bob... seriously...

I always did like the covenant campaign on Halo 2 rather than the spartan one.

I like this show but the music sucks! the theme music! Seriously Bob, change the music.

great show, Bob. and yeah I hated the whole eyes turning blue the moment I saw it as well, I've just grown to hate blue eyes to an extent. I have Smash Bros to thank for that.

Moviebob, have you played or understood halo 2 and 3s campaigns (this sentence isn't meant to be derogatory)? The covenant aren't bad guys, they're a bunch of good people who have been lied to by prophets, and are being manipulated. They think that activating the rings will bring them to heaven, when actually it will kill them all. They're simply mislead. Also, the elites join up with the humans later on, anyways.

Dr. Halsey, the creator of Spartans, also is riddled with guilt over what she's done. The civilians and the rest of the military fear spartans. Spartans are in no way considered the ideal in the human society of halo: they're a necessity. They also die off rather quickly, showing that it wasn't even an effective strategy.

The blue eye thing was sort of creepy, but I don't think that's the only indicator as to whether or not a Spartan is complete. Mostly it has to do with increase in muscle mass and reflexes and whatnot.

Interesting rant, by the way.

WOW! Over 600 comments already. Is that a new record for you Bob?

Soap Box Time:

I think the reason Movie Bob "over-thinks" the Halo game series, to use some of y'alls wording, is thats what he does. He's a movie critic he watches tons of movie and critiques them based on they themes, symbolisms, plot, and characters. Once you done analysis of stuff like that for so long its really hard to close that part of your brain for other things.

The closes two examples I can think of right now are My high School English Teacher and myself.

In High School my English Teacher was a huge Christian. She went to private college and (I think PH.D. but know) mastered in the studied comparative religion and lit. From this she has this idea that all of Western Culture literature has some slant on Christianity. So literally every story we read had this to do with Jesus dying for you sins, or this to do with why the devil temps people. From a kids point of view it was absolutely nuts to think that the Giver represents why God sent his son to earth to die for your sin and forgive you for all eternity. But thats what she read into it and looking back I can see her reasoning for it.

The other example is myself. I was doing research into science fiction literature and my professor had me a term paper about how there is a slant in literature that any deviation for the human norm is evil (Cyborgs, robots, zombies, bio-mechanical augmentation, and so on and so on). Well during the time I was writing that paper and for about half a semester afterward all I could see in anything I did was how this trope effected the characters in any story I watched/played/read(especially video games). Was it true? No. Did it seem believe able to me? Yes. Did my room mates think I was crazier than normal? Whoo boy did they ever.

Now that was just one semester on one trope. Imagine if my job was to look for the symbolism in every thing I did and judge it based on how well it fits into the story. I would see symbols and meanings everywhere, like the DaVinci Code.

Now am I saying Movie Bob should just be close minded when he plays video games? No by having that vast wealth of knowledge of tropes and symbolism that, in my opinion, that helps him give a better voice as to how/if a video game is art or if it is just drivel. And it is only by making these ties, as crazy as they maybe to the outside observer, that will help expand games from "just games" to a socially acceptable form of media and art.

Tl;DR:
Does Move Bob over think the symbolism and meanings behind Halo? Maybe but thats what he does for a living. He analyse media, judges it based on it literary and social values, and give his informed opinion to use the audience, the masses, the sheep.

Should he close his mind and not analyze it because its "just a game"? No, as extra credits pointed out thats one of the reason why video games are so looked down upon in society. He should be able to state his ideas just as you should have some means or ideas to defend his analysis of the subject. Thats what you do with art.

Soap Box Done

One point that was missed, in this is that the convent, from what i've seen and read (might have missed something), started the war and are trying to eliminate humans, and we are seemingly out gunned and out numbered the underdog in this fight. Secondly the Spartan ARE NOT MARINES they are NAVY personnel heck the main character the in original halo spartan 117 aka john hold the Navy rank of Master Chief Petty Officer, Master Chief for short, and the main for Reach is a Navy Lieutenant, equivalent to captain for marines and army. so yes there are space marines in the game but the main characters are Navy. Sorry but this has been bugging me for some time.

I never thought about halo that way

You could just as easily argue that Bowser's army was a diverse group of unique cultures that Mario stomps to death for the crime of deposing a monarch who seems to do nothing but bake cakes and drive go-carts- I'm sure Bowser sees himself as a revolutionary. I'm pretty sure that some of those bosses Mario kills are last-of-their-kind endangered species too.

But seriously, I think the issue here is that Bob has only played Reach, which is Act 1 of a four-act story. Reach has overtones of invasion and xenophobia because it's the first large-scale military contact with the Covenant, and the further stories become more about the humans and the Covenant (or rather the Elites and some Grunts) setting aside their differences and coming together to stop the Flood from overrunning the galaxy. Hell, in Halo 2 you actually play as the Covenant half the time.

It's an interesting opinion though, and I love the show.

Rly this must be some huge glenn beck spoof on video games, military fighting diverse alien zelots does not equal fascism. The Unsc is a combine, like all armies. I mean look at the american military there are people of many races and creeds within it, like the Unsc. Its a real strech to connect halo with Hitler.

And about the blue eyes its weird but all the spartans with visible faces on noble team have blue eyes, even Jorge who im pretty sure is hispanic (judging by his name) so its part of the fiction not a symbol of racism.

-Ran

ultrachicken:
Moviebob, have you played or understood halo 2 and 3s campaigns (this sentence isn't meant to be derogatory)? The covenant aren't bad guys, they're a bunch of good people who have been lied to by prophets, and are being manipulated. They think that activating the rings will bring them to heaven, when actually it will kill them all. They're simply mislead. Also, the elites join up with the humans later on, anyways.

So how many human civilians can a covenant soldier kill before he stops being "good people"?

ran22147:
Rly this must be some huge glenn beck spoof on video games, military fighting diverse alien zelots does not equal fascism. The Unsc is a combine, like all armies. I mean look at the american military there are people of many races and creeds within it, like the Unsc. Its a real strech to connect halo with Hitler.

Some one said hitler, time to end the tread

All this video did was make me think Halo was really a big rip-off of Half-Life, albeit a not so good one.

I liked the video. It was kind of like Extra Credits, but without the pretentious talking down to with half-truth answers.

Yeah....Bob I'm sorry but you just lost a lot of credibility. I'm not going to point out all the mistakes you made and themes you missed, I'll let the rest of the posters do that for me. But I mean you really just do not research your topics. I'm not criticizing you on knowing every aspect of the lore but hell if you're going to attempt to look this in depth to Halo then at least research some of it. Even Roger Ebert would have seen things in the Halo game series more clearly than even you do.

So Bob, I'm sorry to say man but I think you need to go make a "MovieBob's Top 11 Fuckups" video and put this one near the top of the list.

By the way here's a free one: Fuck Up #9 from Halo Legends, the Anime artists weren't trying to piss off American audiences.....343 studios literally worked along side them giving them a lot of creative freedom. Also if you liked the Dragonball series then just a FYI, Legends reunited two of the project's (dragonball) developers that had almost vowed never to work together again. So in other words...it took Halo to reunite some of the biggest contributors to the anime world.

Edit: One more thing Bob, I do support your right to an opinion on Halo but if you want to make an intellectual rant about it. Then why don't you ask yourself, "The Big Picture: What makes Halo so popular?". This opens up the ability to rip this game apart, while at the same time trying to figure out why its the game that helped define FPS for an entire decade and helped make the Xbox what it is.

Okay, I'm gonna go right ahead and say I didn't read the previous 18 pages of posts, but there is one thing I need to get off my chest:

The Spartans in Halo are part of a Military culture, and in no way reflect the culture of humanity as a whole. Much in the same way that military culture today demands rigid conformity and structure, the military culture of a future human society would most likely be no different. Also, consider the fact that the races of the Covenant are in no way equal to one another and that "Diversity" you claim exists become nothing more than a class based (and inherently racist) group of species.

TomLikesGuitar:

MovieBob:
Combat Evolved?

This week MovieBob rants about Halo.

Watch Video

I love how he rants about how honestly cool and in depth the story really is, but then pretends like he thinks its bad.

Congratulations MovieBob, you're just as brainwashed about the "need" to hate on Halo as the rest of the world.

No no no. It IS bad. I love playing Halo Reach, it's fun. The story is a total no-brainer, you don't have to think about it, there is no character development, there is not much character at all really.

The setting is derivative in the extreme, it doesn't make a point, no philosophies within, no questioning what it means to be human, no nothing. Even Star Trek does a better job and that can be fairly lackluster.

The story is a pretext for shooting things and it shows, it's weak and it's written by amature writers. I don't begrudge them, but like every writers first few works, it's not good.

That said the only way you get better is by doing more of it and Reach has been the best Halo game to date, gameplay and plot wise.

What I get the shits with is when Halo fanboys declare it to be the greatest scifi story since sliced fucking bread. It's not, it never was nor ever will be. Stop it, enjoy the game for what it is and please stop harping on to me about how deep it is, because it ain't.

MovieBob was reading into the decisions made in the games development which were unconscious decisions, made without thought to the implications or inference to be drawn from them and was making a broader statement about unconscious cultural mores. Don't be stupid, please.

It's pretty much undeniable that the reason all the aliens in halo are different races is just to give variety to the enemies you fight in the game. This is a game after all. Thinking this far into it is far from "he big picture" as the title proclaims. As for the spartan program, there's a whole entire book about that, (spartan IIs anyways.) I won't get into it, but it's much more complicated than "They're fascist wet dreams and they're bald and their eyes turn blue." Also, even this is probably just an afterthought to explain why Master Chief is able to single handedly kill armies and nonchalantly flip tanks.

Though I don't know that you even believe what you said in this video. It seems like you started with this just to stir up some controversy, which judging by the 18 pages of comments, I assume worked.

Nice new show, I'm looking forward to future episodes.

Why is everyone always picking on Halo anyways?

ok... 'bob you can make a show where you can talk about anything!'

so you decided to stick the boot into halo...good grief.

I've been at work the last two day and nights solid selling black ops, a game that is well worth discussing current and topical, but no we get more "halo sucks, everyone who likes it are dumb" except now apparently because i had the audacity to actually enjoy halo i'm now buying into facist propaganda... hmmm

or maybe your just reading too much into things in an attempt to find new ways to upset all the 13 year old boys who get way too carried away by the game..

perhaps having all these different alien races was just so bungie could have some variety in the enemies, or perhaps the cack handed attempt to recreate the battle between the 300 spartans and the persians 'but in space' was just poor writing?! (just like 300 the movie, WAAY overrated just like frank millers piss poor graphic novel)

next week lets discuss mario's promotion of the use of psychoactive substances (in this case mushrooms) just please no more expendables or scott pilgrim, their both shit but in a entertaining way lets leave it at that.

I don't know if I like it. When I saw MovieBob was doing a new series, I was happy, because I really enjoy Escape to the Movies, but this actually felt more like a watered-down version of what he covers so succinctly in Escape to the Movies. I like the stuff MovieBob talks about, because it's and interesting look into a medium I haven't really been a large part of until recently.
Because of Bob, I've watched a lot of movies, and I'm really grateful for that. It's opened my eyes to unique storytelling techniques and the real feeling involved in a Samurai Duel (Yojimbo, holy crap), or what manages to transcend a tired formula. And through this, Bob's brand of in-depth reviewing has been great in helping me understand how to look at things, but it's alway been easily relatable to a specific medium.
The exact style of this new series is obviously going to change often, and relate to anything Bob bloody well pleases, which is all very well, but it doesn't have as much impact when I can't see that correlation. However, Escape to the Movies, awesome.

The Journey:
Reach has been the best Halo game to date ... plot wise.

This is about where I realized you have no idea what you're talking about.

I loved this thing. Said everything I've always thought about the whole Halo phenomenon out loud.

It's interesting how gameplay driven directives can be construed, using fairly logical points, into something more that most likely wasn't intended in the beginning. It's funny, but how the hell was bungie supposed to make a game about fighting space aliens without variety? Look at gears of war where you fight endless hordes of white peopl...I mean locusts, that pretty much look the same thanks to their palette color.

But yeah, the whole story behind the story is fairly clear. Also of note should be that it is kinda touched upon in the Halo graphic novel bit by Moebius (fascism, soldier worship, and propaganda).

But at the end of it all, the game is all about shooting grown up versions of sesame street characters. And a fun game at that.

Akalabeth:

Bruden:
Sure, people assume the Humans are good because we're human and we're playing the humans so obviously we're the good guys. That view doesn't really hold up under scrutiny though. In the course of the 3 primary games the humans let loose the flood into the galaxy and spend 1/2 the time destroying the only tools proven to exterminate the flood. Letting loose the thing that pretty effectively wiped out all life in the galaxy is not exactly what you'd consider a good thing.

They released the flood by accident. Morally it's irrelevant. Doesn't affect the view of humanity either way.

Letting them out, I'll let you have that one being irrelevant. It's still on rather shaky ground, ignorance is not the best excuse for galactic scale genocide. But you can not argue that blowing up the one thing that puts them back in the box is morally irrelevant.

And while we're at it lets talk about the idea that the writers are supporting the master race Spartan's sameness policy, what is the one thing that rings true for the whole of the series? It doesn't matter what Master Chief is doing, all that spartan gun slinging does nothing to prevent humanity losing every single battle against the covenant.

The Spartans don't have to be winning the war to be supported. Master Chief is the go to guy, the only one who gets things done. Not only that, but was the first Halo a defeat? Chief + Cortana blew it up.

Master Chief is the go to guy sure, he successfully kills a lot of enemy soldiers and not much else. After all, Master Chief's hard work we're still left with a burning earth.
As for blowing up the first Halo they found? Again comes that whole blowing up the one thing that puts the jack back in the box. If the flood spread across the galaxy preying on everything in existence before the only thing stopping them this time is... well... it's nothing now you blew it up. Way to go hero.

By the end of the second game it's been made clear that Earth is the only remaining human population center.

That's never stated in the game so far as I can remember. Earth is important, obviously, but only remaining colony/population centre? Nope.

you're right, they never say "if we loose earth humanity is extinct." They do make some insignificant little quips about what's in orbit being humanity's last line of defense, and a few trivial little things about the covenant wiping out every human world they find. So you're right the games don't specifically spell it out, just surround the hints in giant blinking neon lights, which the books proceed to fill in in bold.

Halo 3's ending leaves an entire continent glassed, people are worried about a little co2 causing global warming, after glassing Africa all of Earth is going to be uninhabitable. So where does that leave humanity?

Unsupported conjecture.
Did you see a stream of evacuation ships at the end of Halo 3?
Do you know what effect the energy beams from Covenant carriers have on a planet's habitability? From the GAMES that is. Not the novels.

From the game's themselves, the covenant use plasma weapons, and the energy of their beams are hot enough to cause dirt to turn to glass. If super-heating an entire continent in a single go doesn't spell global disaster nothing does. The end of Halo 3 is not filled with a dying Earth and humanity scrambling to evacuate because it's supposed to be a happy ending. The ending of Halo 3 is as happy an ending as the end of Star Wars 6, it's just the writers looking down in frustration at a terrible, but logical, end to their writing and going "screw it, celebration scene... and roll credits!" It's a cop out ending, it makes people feel happy and satisfied without having to sit through months of rewrites to get your plot to a point that the ending makes any sense at all.

Now then, how about the covenant. Obviously they're evil because they're against the humans. Again evidence doesn't really support this.

Covenant regularly kill unarmed civilians in the games. This is generally considered bad. They use suicide bombers and have little regard for their own troops, again this is bad. They take no prisoners, except those important to the plot. They lie and subvert the truth to their own people, etcetera, and so on. Hell every covenant we see is a soldier. Are there no technicians on spaceships? No one unarmed for the Spartans to kill? Even the guys in wheel chairs have big laser cannons. When does humanity get a chance to be bad?

Suicide bombers, or sending your soldiers on a suicide mission it's the same thing just one gets less firepower. The humans also take no prisoners even though the grunts often scream and try to run away, heck sometimes the player doesn't even get to kill the retreating grunts because an npc soldiers steps up to shoot them in the back. Lie and subvert their own people, read every politician ever, and specific example from the games "no spartan dies, they're marked as missing in action." All the covenant we see are soldiers... yeah that tends to happen when you're fighting on your own home turf against an invading army.

And here again we see the issue with the idea that the Halo games are anti diversity, as it's abundantly clear that the Covenant are not only winning, they're winning so hard that their most devoted troops have to flip sides just to stop the humans from going extinct by the end of Halo 3.

Anti-diversity is in the moralistic PORTRAYAL of the Covenant. Not in their successes. How "hard" they're winning is irrelevant. It's about morality, not their ability to succeed. The fact that they're winning just makes them a threat.

Except every negative portrayal of the covenant revolves around their religious zealotry. The game never pays any attention to the diversity of their ranks, but we pretty clearly see that the more religious the covenant soldier, the more evil he's portrayed.

The idea that Halo is in anyway promoting the Nazi master race ideals, or is preaching the evils of diversity is the uneducated man's surface reading from the game. The same kind of simplistic insight is what leads people to think Guy Fawkes wanted more freedom in his attempt to blow up Parliament.

It's a legitimate reading, that your post doesn't effectively counter. Is it one I support? No, not really. I'm just being devil's advocate, and movie Bob is largely reading between the lines. But the premise of his argument is interesting and is supported, however unintentionally, by the plot.

Though the clean shaven, eyes change to blue thing is a little suspect. Though it's in an advert, not the bonafide game so not sure it has any real weight.

It's not even close to legitimate. Unless your idea of supporting is watching the "master race" lose through the entire story to be saved by another race. Movie Bob is reading between the lines of Reach and Reach alone. Halo Reach is not intended to be played separated from the context of the previous Halo games. It's supposed to be a low quality bone tossed to rabid fan boys. Playing Reach and trying to make judgments about the Halo series as a whole is like jumping into a tv show for the season finale and using it to judge the entire series. Just don't do it, you obviously don't understand what the hell is going on and you're making an ass out of yourself by rambling on about a story you've barely gotten any portion of.

Bob misses the point again, thanks for screwing up your pilot. that way I'll be sure not to watch this show of yours either.

good start, but i think he was reading too mch into the whole diversity issue, i think the reason for the diverse races was really just for gameplay reasons to add veriety.

WOOOO new show that isn't crap!(hit it with axe)

love moviebob! hate boring whores.

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